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Chlamydia test given green light

A new test for the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia has been given the stamp of approval for use in Britain and the rest of the EU.

The test, which has been developed by pharmaceutical firm Roche, offers reliable detection for chlamydia trachomatis - the most commonly reported STD in Europe.

Although it often causes no symptoms, chlamydia can, if left untreated, lead to complications such as pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility in women. It is often referred to as a "silent" STD because around three quarters of infected women have no symptoms.

The disease can easily be treated with antibiotics, but if left untreated, health risks can include chronic pelvic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy, increased risk of HIV infection (if exposed) and infertility.

The new test takes a dual approach to help ensure reliability of results even when mutations occur in the bacteria's cryptic plasmid DNA.

"Unexpected mutations in the DNA of an infectious agent such as chlamydia can disrupt laboratory testing and, by extension, proper treatment of patients," said Roche's chief medical officer Teresa Wright.

"Because it is impossible to predict when these mutations will occur, we have designed this test to detect all chlamydia strains that may cause a deletion in the cryptic plasmid."

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